From WAPO and the Associated Press
Religious People Found Kinder, on 2 Conditions
Religious people are more helpful and generous than others -- but only on two conditions, according to a new study published in the prestigious journal Science. ...University of British Columbia psychology researchers Ara Norenzayan and Azim Shariff concluded that religious people act more kindly than atheists on condition that they believe their acts will enhance their reputations among their peers. The second condition is being freshly reminded, in a subconscious way, of the existence of a morally tinged God or supernatural being, the researchers said. ....Religious people are inclined, under these conditions, to be more giving and honest than others because their belief in God assumes the existence of an all-knowing "supernatural police" force that monitors their behavior, Norenzayan said in an interview. ...But once researchers remove the two conditions, Norenzayan said, "all of a sudden you don't find any differences between the moral behavior of religious people and non-religious."